Sunday, December 12, 2010

His Eye is on the Sparrow

A female mate was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road, and the condition was soon fatal.

Her male mate brought her food and attended her with love and compassion.

He brought her food again, but was shocked to find her dead.

He tried to move her - a rarely seen effort.

Aware that his mate was dead and would never come back to him again, he cried with adoring love...

...and stood beside her with sadness and sorrow.

Millions of people were touched after seeing these photos in America , Europe, Australia , and even India .  The photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the most famous newspaper in France .  All copies of that edition were sold out on the day these pictures were published.

                                And many people think animals and birds don't have brains or feelings.  You have just witnessed love and sorrow felt by God's creatures.  The Bible says that God knows when a sparrow falls.  Imagine how much He cares for us!

                                Live simply, love generously, care deeply, and speak kindly.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


From a retired pastor-friend:

During World War II a bomb scored an indirect hit and shattered the beautiful
stained-glass rose window in the Reims Cathedral, France. The members of the
congregation got down on their hands and knees and picked up all the small glass
fragments of the window.

After the war, they hired some of the most skilled workmen available to rebuild
the window, fragment by fragment, from the pieces they had saved. Today, the
rose window in the Reims Cathedral is more beautiful than ever before.

God can take our broken lives and our shattered dreams and reshape them into a
life that is more lovely than before.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Spiritual Intelligence: A New Way of Being, Brian Draper, Lion, 2009.

We know about rational intelligence (remember those IQ tests at school?). And emotional intelligence (you've read Daniel Goleman's best-seller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ). So if our cognitive and affective behaviors can be measured in terms of performance, someone had to come up with an equivalent for the dimension of the spirit. And this happened quite recently, apparently, when in the year 2000 Oxford academic, philosopher and spiritual writer Danah Zohar coined the phrase 'spiritual intelligence'. 'She suggested that it forms the central part of our intelligence, the part in which our values and beliefs are nurtured and in which we can work towards our full potential as created beings' (p. 12).

Brian Draper, British freelance writer, seminar-leader, contributor to BBC Radio 4’'s thought for the day etc. says spiritual intelligence is figuring out who we were created to be in the first place - the 'unique you'. (Parker Palmer teaches similarly in the United States). It's about listening to the child's voice within us, and to the riches buried in our traditions: 'riches that help us to make those soulful reconnections that many of us, deep down, yearn to make - with the world around us, with each other, with our selves, and with the higher power often called God'. It's really all about common (or uncommon?) sense. Or a 'spiritual' person's equivalent of 'smelling the roses'.

The standard contemplative wisdom is here: listening to our breathing, eliminating invasive noise (eg. by trying a week without TV), and being still. One of Draper's favorite questions is the Gen X writer Douglas Coupland's: What do we do when the power fails? It's not about conquests but connecting with our reality. As Marcel Proust wrote, 'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes'. It's about 'seeing the world from up here' as Robin Williams' character Mr. Keating tells the boys when he climbs on to his desk in Dead Poets' Society.

Spirituality is about the tension between contemplation (being) and action (doing). It's about what you're not (a consumer of this world) versus what you are (in communication with the world). Take some time to write your obituary. Our ego attaches itself to things around us, or the desired perceptions of others. So in this uncertain world, as Eckhart Tolle reminds us (Draper probably quotes Tolle more than any other wise person) 'you can assume that virtually everyone you meet or know lives in a state of fear... Most become conscious of it only when it takes on one of its most acute forms'.

You get the idea.… This is the book to read before Tolle's The Power of Now. It connects us with ancient wisdom (though I reckon Draper could have used more biblical material: conservatives might accuse him - and they'd be wrong - of being 'New Age-ish'). And he could have tapped more into the traditional wisdom of the church, which has been wrestling with all this for 2000 years under the rubric of 'Spiritual Theology' (he quotes Augustine, but I don't think Meister Eckhart gets a mention, though, surprisingly for a Brit, American Franciscan Richard Rohr does, fairly frequently).

Near the end is a quote from D H Lawrence: 'I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections./ And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly that I am ill, / I am ill because of wounds to the soul.' Yes!

Get it for your family-member or friend who's not yet had their mid-life crisis and is still moving too fast across the face of the earth trying to prove their worth by out-performing others. (You know the best description of a mid-life crisis? It's realizing you've reached the top of the ladder, but it's leaning against the wrong wall). And read it slowly: digest a couple of pages a day for a couple of months. Write 'ouch!' occasionally in the margins (as I did), and it could even be life- changing.

Rowland Croucher

August 2009

Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

Justice for Dawn Rowan -

Sunday, July 5, 2009


A child tries to understand...

Friday, May 29, 2009


Irena Sendler

Recently a 98 year-old lady named Irena died. During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive... She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German). Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of a tool box and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids'/infants' noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the children she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunite the families. Most of course had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize ... She was not selected.

(Al Gore won, for his work on Global Warming).

May 2009